What Should I Dashboard You Ask? What You Are Trying To CHANGE!

Mike Griffin is a WordPress CodeSmith

Monday got off to a great start. I had a really good email with an Occam’s Razor blog post entitled “The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act“. It is really good because it is another good answer to a question I often get when I talk to users or speak about “getting real about performance management with KISS communication and action dashboards”: What should I dashboard?

The fact is that hours are wasted in meetings discussing “what to dashboard”. I have a friend who works for a very small manufacturing company, only 17 employees, whose president is obsessed with dashboarding EVERYTHING. The wingnut dashboards every item on their P&L and has goals for every item too. Let’s face it, the larger percentage of any P&L is fixed costs that you simply know are going to occur. Dashboarding them is just another form of mindless reporting for the sake of reporting. Oh yeah, she has to do a lot of that too :lol:.

I thought of this friend when I got to the third paragraph in Avinash’s post:

“We are far too enamored with data collection and reporting the standard metrics we love because others love them because someone else said they were nice so many years ago. Sometimes, we escape the clutches of this sub optimal existence and do pick good metrics or engage in simple A/B testing.

But it is not routine.

So, how do we fix this problem?”

That president loves his P&L, the whole damn thing. ;-) That’s silly.

But I digress. Avinash’s post isn’t direct insight from Avinash, it is insight from Lean Analytics a new book by Alistair Croll and his collaborator Benjamin Yoskovitz.

Go read this post. http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/lean-analytics-cycle-metrics-hypothesis-experiment-act/. And then come back.

I’ll  going to show you how I dashboard the post because it is this kind of method of driving change that you should be dashboarding. It is another example of an action dashboard.

The critical parts of the way I see the dashboard are:

  • Pick A KPI.
  • Create A Hypothesis.
  • Measure The Results.
  • Move the Needle.

To “move the needle” we need KPI Gauge Widgets. For “create the hypothesis’ we need Text/HTML Widgets. For “measure the results” we need a data table to hold the hypothesis target values and the results.

We are going to use the dashboard discussion pane to let everyone know that we’ve setup the dashboard following the suggestions in the post and added a motivational image just for fun. I like to be motivated. But that is also why I follow those who motivate me on Facebook and Google+ :lol:

Test Hypothesis Dashboard
Test Hypothesis Dashboard



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About MikeGriffin

Mike Griffin is our Chief Dashboard Blogger. Mike is a grizzled veteran of data visualization software development. He started with analog to digital conversions of "dynograph" type data to generate charts on compute screens with Cobol when Cobol was Cool ;-) His three decades of business intelligence, balanced scorecard and dashboard software development have taught him that easy to use, beautiful and affordable are the key to everyday use. Great software HAS to be easy for anyone and affordable by everyone.